Mods and Rockers Baddie Workshop!

Here are just a few of the BRILLIANT baddies we created at Silverdale Primary Academy on Friday. It was so much fun! We spoke about what makes a believable baddie, and which are our favourite baddies and why – and how giving them a weakness is important…

We based our baddie armies on an element of local history from Hastings – The Battle of Hastings… Well, the 1964 Mods and Rockers invasion at least!

I was totally blown away by the scale of imagination and creativity these year 5 classes had. I especially liked the Rocker baddie – who had a snake printed on the back of his leather jacket that could shoot out venom! And, my favourite baddie weaknesses, has to be Brussels sprouts!

Thank you so much for having me visit! :))))


Happy New Year – and thank you!


I just wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! And to thank you all for your #RoseMuddle support over these last six months, I feel very fortunate to have you all!
Thanks to everyone who sold and promoted The Amber Pendant – lots of fabulous support from #UsborneBooksatHome and the many independent book shops especially.
And to all of you who bought and read The Amber Pendant!  With an extra special thanks to those who took the time to write a review. (30 x reviews on Amazon – just amazing!)…/dp/1474927…/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0…

Also a big thank you to Waterstones at Lakeside Shopping Centre, Waterstones Ashford for having me visit and sign books. To Waterstones Hastings for their incredible ongoing help and support.

The Book Nook and City Books in Hove for the window displays and to the many schools who I’ve been privileged to visit. Wonderful!

But, most of all to Becky Walker, my amazing editor at Usborne who has put so much love and time into making this book what it is. And to the whole Usborne Team for their collective enthusiasm and hard work. Such an amazing first six months.

I am hugely looking forward to 2018 and the release of book two in the Rose Muddle Mysteries…

Wishing you all a happiness filled New Year – full of good books! 

#RoseMuddle Teaching Resources and Competition now available with The Reading Agency!

Delighted that The Reading Agency has details of the new Rose Muddle local history teaching resources and activity sheet. You can download below:


I used elements of local history when writing The Amber Pendant, after I discovered a Bronze Age Amber Cup in the museum – why not see if you can create your own fab stories using your own local history?!

Plus, there is a #FREE competition offering the chance to WIN 10 x Usborne books bundle!!! With books on creative writing and history! The closing date is 27th October, 2017! Good luck!



Just a quick update on all things Rose Muddle! I visited so many schools for the promotional The Amber Pendant tour. I saw over 1,500 AMAZING children!! Thank you so much to Silverdale Primary Academy, Hove Juniors, St Christopher’s Hove, Kingfield Primary Woking, Sandcross School Reigate for all taking part. It really has been an absolute joy to meet the pupils and talk local history, myth, magic and MONKEYS!! 🙈🙉🙊

The Secret Bones Beneath Hove

Palmeira Square

Picture: Me, in Palmeira Square, close to where a huge Bronze Age burial mound once stood.

This is a little story about how local history inspired me to write, The Amber Pendant.

A magnificent Bronze Age burial mound use to sit in the middle of Hove, and it even gave Hove its name, as it comes from the Old Danish word Hof – which means burial ground.

There were a few burial mounds dotted between the South Downs and the shore in Hove. But, the biggest by far, was the mound situated close to where Palmeira Square sits now. It stood twenty feet tall, and was so big some people didn’t think it was a burial mound at all but just an unusual hillock. The field it sat in was known locally as Cony Barrow. Cony is the old word for rabbit, and barrow is another name for a burial mound – which conjures up quite a tranquil picture in my mind.

The mound was close enough to the shore that it could be seen from far out to sea, just like the burial described in the ancient story of Beowulf.

It is said that during Easter celebrations the local people use to link hands around Hove’s mound and play the traditional game of Kiss in the Ring – which has its roots in Pagan Springtime celebrations. It is curious to imagine how far back this custom went – it could well be very ancient indeed.

But this all stopped in 1856, when the mound was flattened during the development of the Palmeira Square area. I wonder how scared the workman felt when their spade hit the solid wood of the coffin buried deep inside?

Some say the coffin was a hollowed-out tree trunk, others that it was crafted from wooden boards. But, either way, once the coffin came into contact with the air it crumbled to dust, revealing ancient human bones nestled inside.

The skeletal remains had a number of burial goods placed on the chest area. The most spectacular of these was a cup crafted from Baltic amber. A beautiful and curious object, it looks more like a modern-day teacup than a chalice or a beaker. Incredibly, it’s over 3,000 years old!


Hove’s Amber Cup: (Picture credit: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove)

In 1856, once all the items of value were removed from the grave, the workman were told to cart away the bones and coffin remains and dump them, along with the top soil from the mound, to use as landscaping material for the ornamental rose garden being created in Palmeira Square. It’s strange to think that the chieftain’s bones are still buried there somewhere. So, do spare our Beowulf-type hero a thought the next time you stroll through…

I was amazed to discover all this when I first moved to Hove, and excitedly told everyone. Surprisingly, no one seemed to know much about it. But, I couldn’t stop thinking about this mysterious burial, and why they would have been laid to rest with this curious cup crafted from amber all those years ago. And so, the germ of The Amber Pendant began!

The amber cup is displayed at the Hove Museum, it is a wonderful object and well worth a visit. It featured in the BBC’s A History of the World in a 100 Objects a few years ago. It also inspired my first book for children aged 8+ THE AMBER PENDANT, first of THE ROSE MUDDLE MYSTERIES (Usborne). Which is set in Edwardian Hove and is full of dark magic and local mystery.

I love local history, and enjoy writing creatively about my findings. I believe everywhere has amazing secrets waiting to be uncovered – even in our towns and cities. Do let me know if you find anything out in your area. I also visit schools – inspiring kids to find out more about local history wherever they live. Please contact me for more information – I would love to hear from you!

To find out about other historical details that inspired the The Amber Pendant, visit Usborne’s brilliant Quicklinks here:  



The #RoseMuddle Window display in City Books Hove!!

City Books window 2CityBooks Window

(Picture credit: City Books Hove)

So incredibly happy to have The Amber Pendant displayed in the window of City Books Hove! I’d popped in the day before to sign a few copies of The Amber Pendant and the lovely Elle (who works there) kept it a secret that the window was soon to be transformed Rose Muddle stylie the very next day! And look at the fantastic 1907 map of Hove, and the book cover displayed in guilt frames! I am absolutely made up! Thank you.

The Amber Pendant is based in Edwardian Hove, and tells the tale of workhouse girl, Rose Muddle, who gets flung into a perilous adventure when she inherits a magical amber pendant. It contains dark magic, mystery and monkeys!!

So, if it tickles your fancy,  get over to City Books Hove and grab a signed copy!!